Depression, Raw and the Jpeg?

Sharkey Ward is a long time depressive who took up photography as part of his treatment.

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This has a happy ending so don’t give up yet! I am a long term depressive who as part of my treatment took up photography. Originally to encourage more contact with the human race outside my immediate family.

In that photography was a great success and led to me actually earning a living from it, so a double good thing there. I now photograph purely for pleasure and there in lies the problem, or seemed to. My lovely wife enjoyed our day outs to photograph and explore our new homes surroundings so it seemed natural for her to acquire her own camera and lenses, whoopee twice the fun.

For some unknown reason (at the time) however my sense of fun and satisfaction seemed to decline and my depressive character began to take hold of my hobby. I found myself more and more pointing out good shots to my wife rather than taking it myself and glorying in her results whilst skipping abjectly through my own.

Obviously I hear you say ‘I was jealous of her natural eye and talent’. An easy answer but entirely wrong. I really do glory in my wife’s success so far and do encourage her as much as I can to improve not only her techniques but also her equipment (not cheap).

So what is the problem? Am I just loosing the plot or has my complete lack of talent finally come home to roost?

To find out I started a bit of soul searching and research into my declines timetable. The big buzz for me originally was seeing for the first time my picture in print, no not tabloid or magazine, just your plain old 6 x 4 print from the local minilab.

When I changed to digital the same was true, as I edited my work for upload to my site to sell that familiar buzz was still there. For reasons I won’t go through here using large jpgs suited my needs perfectly at the time, I had no need of RAW, readers and suchlike. Right up until I retired the jpg fulfilled all my needs as a pro. Can you see what is coming yet? (misquote courtesy of some bearded Australian?).

I started to use RAW when I retired as a means of extending my equipments capabilities and my own imagination/skill and up until recently that has proved very successful, to my eye at least.

The workflow of RAW is more akin to being your own minilab in that you take the negative and give it life in your little machine (photoshop etc.) and having worked in a minilab for a while I can assure you that browsing negatives is no fun (clue). W

hen I browse in Bridge through my results they are ‘RAW’, obvious really. To see anywhere near the final print I must open and process this image. So. I am browsing the digital form of the negative and that is a very ‘negative’ experience when at the same time on the other side of the room , on her beautiful 24” iMac my wife is giving out yelps of delight at seeing her completed images leap from the screen. This I observed was at least part of my problem.

Is that it? Well no. There is a more subtle and insidious reason for the mood downswing, an almost self propelling reason. Oh OK. I’ll tell you, as you asked. When using jpg your resulting screen view or print is from machines with presets and algorithms (instigated by you admittedly) that are fixed when you press the button, on the camera, on the printer or on your computer, so as far as your own mood is concerned, when you see them the result it can be in no way affected by you. Yes if your in a bad mood you might not like what you see but a time later in a better frame of mind the same image may appear perfectly wonderful.

As for me and my RAW. I pick an image out of Bridge, I open it using my Raw reader adjusting settings to my liking at the time, open the image and make further adjustments to my liking before saving to a file size and type that I want.

Do you see the fundamental difference? Not only do I start from what I perceive to be a dullish, uninspiring ,negative beginning (relatively) but I then rely on an iffy memory and a depressive mentality to produce the final image. A double Whameee! I think that is called.

Finally to the solutions. First I could just give up or shoot my wife or move to another room or house or any of the many things I will not do.

My solution is. Shoot RAW + jpg.. View the jpg’s to find an image that interests me. Use it as a memory jog of my initial view. Adjust as little a possible in processing after taking a ‘good’ original. Finally let my wife find her own shots! There a happy ending.

Acouple of things to bear in mind though. Your mood can and does affect your processing so beware. Listen to people you trust, if they like it and you don’t it may just be you thats up the creek! Sharkey Ward  These are my thoughts, thats all.

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Quote:My solution is. Shoot RAW + jpg.. View the jpg’s to find an image that interests me. Use it as a memory jog of my initial view. Adjust as little a possible in processing after taking a ‘good’ original.

Why bother to move to Raw? The jpg clearly gives you what you want, & you can fit many more shots on a card. Seems like you're adding work to your workflow to produce the same result.

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